Heavy Build Plating

If you need thick plating deposits for an upcoming project, SPC can help. We offer extensive heavy build plating capabilities for a wide variety of materials and applications so that you can get the thick plating your organization needs. We provide heavy plating services with electroless nickel, silver, gold, and copper among other materials, delivering quality with every product.


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Heavy build plating is a type of plating where the deposit is considerably thicker than what is required for most commercial applications. For the majority of metals, this process means that the plating exceeds 0.001 inches thick, though the exact minimum thickness varies widely based on the specific material and application. For example, the minimum thickness of gold heavy plating starts at 0.0002 inches due to the value and physical nature of the material.


At SPC, we offer an extensive range of heavy build plating capabilities from our premier metal coating facility. By dissolving the ions of a given metal in an electrolyte liquid, administering an electric current and placing the object to be plated in the solution for an extended amount of time, we can complete the heavy build plating process with nearly any metal required for your applications. Some of the most popular heavy build metals include:

  • Gold: Gold is one of the best precious metals for use in traditional or heavy build plating. It offers exceptional corrosion resistance and increased durability, which makes heavy build gold plating a preferred choice in the medical industry. Many dental products and medical devices use heavy build gold plating to meet industry specifications.
  • Silver: Silver is a far more cost-effective plating option than gold, and it also provides a similar level of corrosion resistance. It also has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of any metal and has the lowest melting point. As a result, many industries opt for heavy build silver plating — particularly the petrochemical industry, which uses silver to protect against chemical wear.
  • Copper: Copper has long been known for its thermal properties and protection against corrosion. Consequently, heavy build copper plating services are often used to craft ammunition and in applications throughout the aerospace industry.
  • Electroless nickel: The heavy build electroless nickel plating process is different from traditional plating. Electroplated items require an electric current to make the metal ions adhere to a given surface. In contrast, electroless nickel plating doesn’t require an electric current. Instead, your product is placed in a unique solution that uses chemical reactions to bond the nickel to the surface. Heavy build electroless nickel plating is common in the petrochemical industry due to its corrosion resistance.


Heavy build plating serves many purposes in a wide variety of industries, though the exact purpose varies by the material, industry and specific application. For example, the medical industry uses heavy build gold plating to produce pore-free, highly biocompatible products, while the petrochemical industry uses heavy build silver and electroless nickel plating to improve chemical and wear resistance.


Typically, heavy build plating is used to offer one or more of the following benefits:

  • Improved surface quality
  • Improved metallic properties
  • Improved resistances, like chemical, thermal or wear resistance

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Considerations for Heavy Build Plating

Heavy build plating is different from regular plating, not just in the final product but also in the procedure. While any plating method can produce problematic results, these issues are magnified in heavy build plating, meaning that the procedure requires extensive expertise to do correctly.


Some of the most common challenges that arise during heavy build plating procedures include:

  • Maintaining dimensional tolerances
  • Maintaining surface finish quality
  • Preventing nodulation or pitting
  • Ensuring proper bath parameters, material measurements and plating rates
  • Minimizing tensile stress

All of these issues can be resolved by choosing the right plating company to work with. That’s where SPC’s heavy build plating services can be of help.

Applications of Heavy Build Electroplating

An extensive range of industries and applications use heavy build plating rather than traditional electroplating services. Some examples include:

  • Medical: Medical device manufacturers are held to stringent standards when designing and producing their devices. Most businesses in the industry choose heavy build gold plating for a fully pore-free gold deposit. The pore-free design allows for better biocompatibility — the surface’s compatibility with living tissue. The plating’s thickness typically ranges from 0.0001 inches on each side to around 0.0003 inches.
  • Ammunition: Plated bullets are one of the three main types of ammunition available today. Particularly, many ammunition manufacturers use heavy build copper plating services to coat their projectiles. Most bullets and other projectiles use 0.020 inches of heavy build copper plating or fewer per side.
  • Petrochemical: The petrochemical industry typically uses heavy build silver and electroless nickel plating to increase products’ chemical resistance and protection against general wear. For example, some screw compressor bearings use 0.020 inches or more of heavy build silver plating for chlorine resistance, and natural gas vacuum pumps are plated with around 0.005 inches of electroless nickel.
  • Bearing: Bearings of any type undergo significant amounts of pressure as an integral part of various machinery. Many bearings manufacturers add a heavy build lead layer to provide a smoother surface that better resists wear. While thinner layers are mostly used for high-load applications, heavy build plating is used for lower-pressure loads.

Why Choose SPC as Your Preferred Metal Coating Facility?

SPC is a professional metal finishing company, offering a range of services to businesses across the U.S. As a family-owned company, we place a significant focus on delivering excellent customer service and top-of-the-line product quality. As such, we’ve put a considerable focus on our heavy build plating services, providing consistent quality and excellent customer service.


Our highly trained employees will ensure that any of the common challenges faced during the heavy build plating process are appropriately addressed at every stage. We have extensive experience in heavy build plating processes for a range of materials, industries and applications, so we know how to produce the results you need. With our expertise, we’ll work with you so that your business achieves high-quality products every time.


Are you interested in learning more about heavy build plating and how SPC’s services provide consistently competitive quality?

Contact SPC today for a free, no obligation quote!